The unveiling of weird and wild sea critters

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This April 30, 2016 image shows a deep sea anglerfish living between pillow basalt rock formations. The ambush predator waits for prey to be attracted by its lure, located between its eyes, and gulps it with its large mouth.
This April 30, 2016 image shows a deep sea anglerfish living between pillow basalt rock formations. The ambush predator waits for prey to be attracted by its lure, located between its eyes, and gulps it with its large mouth.

The unveiling of weird and wild sea critters

by: . | .
The Associated Press | .
published: November 01, 2016

New images from recent exploration voyages show how weird and wild it is under the sea.

From April 20 to July 10, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  and partners conducted a three-cruise expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information of unknown and poorly known areas in and around the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument area in the Pacific Ocean near Guam and Saipan.

The primary expedition goal was to acquire baseline information in deepwater areas to support science and management needs, and to understand the diversity and distribution of deepwater habitats in and around the trench.

Some of the pictures taken by remote cameras of never-before-seen areas show what looks like an imaginary world.

“We’re continually surprised by the variety of life that we find and what we’re seeing,” said Nicole Raineault, science operations director at the Ocean Exploration Trust. “It just underscores what little we know about the ocean and how much more there is to discover out there.”


This April 29, 2016 image made available by NOAA shows the feeding arms of a stalked crinoid animal during a deepwater exploration of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument area in the Pacific Ocean near Guam and Saipan. 

 

This June 27, 2016 image made available by NOAA shows a cutthroat eel at 3,145 meters (1.9 miles) deep on Stegasaurus Ridge. The eels are abundant in the deep ocean and active day and night. Photos by NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research via AP


This June 30, 2016 image shows an acorn worm on the “Twin Peaks” underwater formation

 

 

In this July 2016 image made available by the Ocean Exploration Trust, a crab, bottom, stands near an unidentified purple orb during a deep sea expedition around the Channel Islands off the coast of California. After sampling, it began to unfold to reveal two distinct lobes; researchers thing it may be a pleurobranch sea slug, a close relation to the nudibranch, but currently, none of the known species of California deep-sea pleurobranchs are purple.

 

This June 29, 2016 image made available by NOAA shows a cusk eel with an unusual bulbous head shape with small eyes, large nostrils, and a mouth placed low on the head, during a deepwater exploration of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument area in the Pacific Ocean near Guam and Saipan. Researchers believe this could be a new species.

 

This June 27, 2014 photo made available by the Ocean Exploration Trust shows a vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis), a deep-sea cephalopod, during an overnight dive in the Gulf of Mexico. Its name comes from its deep color and red eyes, not because it feeds on blood.

 

This May 4, 2016 image shows a parapagurid hermit crab hosting an anemone which secretes a “shell” for the crab, during a deepwater exploration of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument area in the Pacific Ocean. Hermit crabs usually use a snail or other shell as protection.

 

This April 30, 2016 image shows a large blind lobster popping its head out of a hole off the coast of Guam.

 

 

This April 24, 2016 image made available by NOAA shows a bioluminescent jellyfish during a deepwater exploration of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument area.

 

This April 26, 2016 image shows a predatory tunicate, an invertebrate animal, during the deepwater exploration.

 

 

This June 30, 2016 image shows a fish, of the family Aphyonidae, which had never before been seen alive, during a deepwater exploration of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument area in the Pacific Ocean.

 

This June 22, 2016 image made available by NOAA shows a benthic comb jelly fish at the Ahyi Seamount.

 

 

This June 30, 2016 image shows a squid as the remote operated vehicle Deep Discoverer descends to the seafloor of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument area.

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